Show Me a Kid Who Doesn’t Like This

Let’s face it, there are times when baseball practice becomes a little slow, especially with inexperienced youth baseball coaches at the helm. When things seem to be dragging a little at practice, it is always good to have that “Go To” plan, which picks up every ones spirits. One of the go to plans I use is the hitting game. I have never observed many kids who did not like playing this hitting game, as long as it is run correctly. There are a few variations explained below, and it is a good idea to add different versions from time to time. The key is to challenge players according to their ability level. Because coaches can do just that, teams can be one sided, with no guarantee the most talented team wins. It is a good idea to explain to players that the pitcher-coach will be doing just that.

Carlos Prichard of the Redcliffe Padres avoids...

Carlos Prichard of the Redcliffe Padres avoids a runners interference from a batted ball by leaping over it. The defensive team is the Narangba Demons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baseball Hitting game details

  1. Two sides are chosen, usually by assigned team captains
  2. Players from each team get a predetermined number of swings, usually three at a time (players should not swing at pitches that are not strikes, but lose one swing for taking an obvious strike)
  3. One team hits while other plays defense – there is no running of bases with this hit game
  4. After going through line up for team A, team B gets the same number of swings
  5. Points totaled like this – 1 point for hard hit ground ball, 3 for line drive that at least reaches pitcher’s mound distance, 5 for line drive to outfield, and 10 for balls beyond the last player on defense. No offensive points awarded for swings and misses, foul balls, popped up balls and lazy fly balls
  6. On defensive end, points awarded as follows: 1 point for catching ground ball cleanly (1st line of defense only) 2 points for catching line drives or pop ups, 3 points for a great play (deemed by coach)

As noticed by scoring system, defensive team can score even when no points awarded for soft hit balls and can negate some of the offensive points, by catching balls. For instance, batter gets three points for a hard hit line drive but defense gets two when ball is caught or three if a diving catch, making the net gain one or zero. In this manner, players aggressively play defense, too.

Points are added each inning to get the winning team. Variations of game include not using a defense, especially when playing game in batting cage, or when parents around to field balls. In addition, points can be deducted for swings and misses, pop ups, errors on defense, etc… Coaches can be creative with the hitting game rules to keep it changing and for stressing the importance of certain aspects of baseball.

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